Well the Missus and I trundled over to the Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday and what did we find at the Huntington Avenue entrance but union members with picket signs calling for a new contract and restoration of union security guards, whose ranks have allegedly been depleted during the past three years.
Said union members presented us with this flyer.
So the hardtrundling staff went to the Museum Independent Security Union’s Facebook page and found stuff like this latest post.
Not the most sophisticated critique you’ll ever see. (And, as you might have noticed, almost five months old.)
Then again, here’s another wrinkle, from a Nonprofit Quarterly piece last December.
Guards at Boston Museum of Fine Arts Protest More “Militarized” Role
For the past three weeks, guards who usually serve to protect the treasures of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) have instead been walking the pavement outside. Members of the Museum Independent Security Union (MISU) object to changes that museum officials want to make to reduce flexible scheduling and the coverage they’ve provided inside the galleries to assist patrons and protect the art. According to Hyperallergic.com this week, MISU president Evan Henderson explained the guards’ position saying the proposed changes are “pushing guards out of their positions,” and would “reportedly be less focused on providing artwork protection and guest support within the galleries, and require them to cover shifts in areas of the museum like the attic, offices, or outdoors.”
Henderson was quoted in the Boston Globe saying, “They want us to be more like unlicensed cops, in which we’ll be more militarized…. We’ll be doing, like, drills in the morning. They want us to not focus on the artwork and be able to fight things like active shooters.”
That Globe piece also included this:
[A]ccording to Steve Keller, a museum security consultant with Architect’s Security Group in Florida, the MFA is in the forefront of a broader trend among museums to adopt technologically advanced security systems. Keller, who said he was briefed on the MFA’s security system at a conference this year at the Smithsonian, said the museum uses a predictive video monitoring system that incorporates ceiling-mounted cameras and video analytics to sound an alarm before a person actually touches an artwork.
“The MFA has one of the largest of these systems,” he said. “They’re doing an amazing job.”
The union flyer, however, insists that’s not true.
We’re trying to contact the MISU folks and the MFA to get more info. As always, we’ll keep you posted.